From sculptures informed by the Herpes simplex virus (HSV) to automated bike retrieval systems and robust challenges around identity politics, the next generation of NCAD creatives are not holding back, as tjis year’s enf of year Grad Shows – NCAD Works 2023 – gets underway at the National College of Art and Design.
Announcing details of NCAD Works 2023, Professor Sarah Glennie, Director at the College, remarked that the designers, thinkers, playmakers and social change disruptors that emerge from art and design colleges have a vital and timely role to play in our shared task of creating a more equitable, just and sustainable society.
“This year’s graduates have woven trauma, personal heritage and questions of identity together into what can only be considered a rich, diverse, visually stunning and challenging tapestry of collected works, available for the public to view and engage with from June 9th.
Our graduates leave NCAD equipped with the creative skills and vision to continue questioning the accepted norms of how art, design and wider creative practice can happen, and I have no doubt each of them will play a role in the radical rethinking of our society that needs to take place. We don’t just say that lightly here, we show it, and we demonstrate it –through art practice, through storytelling, and by pushing the bounds of creativity year after year.”
Discussing common themes emerging from 2023 graduates, Professor Glennie commented:
“Students are exploring issues close to their personal relationships with the world, as well as ones that resonate beyond their studio walls; they take the form of timely commentaries on health, body image, identity politics, queer theory, critiques of social media, sustainability, the circular economy and grief. The graduates have skilfully translated their craft into pieces that provoke, engage, and connect with everyone walking in off the street.”
“Across art, design and creative disciplines, students are not just tackling but providing solutions to some of the most pressing societal issues facing us today. The graduates are exploring the immigrant experience, themes of tradition, family, gender and bi-racial experience.
Many of the students are examining how humanity has altered and undermined many of the planets’ fundamental bio-systems and are creating sustainable solutions. One product design graduate has created an automated retrieval system for bikes that can be seamlessly integrated with train travel.”
Manifesting the generational trauma of Stardust
Commenting on Conor Leech’s work, Professor Glennie says: “Conor Leech focused on his grandmother’s ongoing and effervescent fight for justice and truth as part of the ‘Justice for the 48 Committee’. His grandmother lost three of her children in the Valentine’s Day disco fire in the Stardust Nightclub in Artane in 1981. Through the use of publications, photography, and posters, Conor aims to keep this tragic story live in the minds of younger generations by enabling the voices of his family, other families, and the survivors to be heard”.
Other notable works among the student collections on display for NCAD Works 2023 include:
An intrinsic part of NCAD’s focus is ensuring collaboration through learning and working with community groups, NGOs and businesses in the neighbourhood of Dublin 8.
NCAD Works 2023 is a week-long programme across the NCAD Campus from 9-16th June, open to the public and free of charge, packed with exhibitions created and curated by graduating students, and includes a rich programme of in-person and online performances, talks and events showcasing their work. More at www.ncadworks2023.ie
On Saturday, 10th June at 2pm, ‘Ro-ro lo-lo: the design and material culture of Dublin Port with MA DHMC and Grafton Architects’. MA Design History and Material Culture students collaborated with UCD Architecture and Dublin Port. They will present their work including fantastical historic maps, an analysis of containerisation, the Poolbeg Towers as accidental icons, how the body plugs into the city as part of the sewerage system and the nature of Dublin Port as a space and place.
On Sunday, 11th June at 3pm ‘Colonialism and Tragedy in Ukrainian Art’ lecture with NCAD graduate Maryna Lehanovska exploring the ways colonial and tragedy have been depicted in Ukrainian art. Discussing key artists and artworks, the lecture will create an understanding of the impact of colonialism on culture and society.
On Monday, 12th June at 1pm ‘NCAD Cross Department Open Critique, a Walking Tour with graduates Falon Weaver and Aoife Ni Dhuinn’ presenting their degree show work to peers and the public for discussion and reflection
Tuesday 13th June at 1pm ‘Stardust ’81’ Graphic Design graduate Conor Leech introduces his degree work on the Stardust ’81 tragedy with guest speaker campaigner Jimmy Fitzpatrick who will speak on his experiences as a survivor of the fire.
On Wednesday 14th June at 11am ‘Let’s Talk about Oil and Climate workshop with Fine Art Sculpture and Expanded Practice graduate Anne Keena and artist photographer Yvette Monaghan’. Participants will be given three images of Greta Thunberg and invited to respond in images or writing to the question, what do the images suggest about oil and climate?
On Wednesday, 14th June at 6pm ‘A Celebration of NCAD’s Dublin 8 Creative Collaborations’. Introduced by Director Sarah Glennie this event brings together NCAD students and staff, along with local community workers and youth workers to critically reflect upon shared experiences and consider the challenges and potential of collaborative arts practice in the neighbourhood.